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October 24, 2000

H.R. 3312 - Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)
Administrative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act of 2000

(Rep. Gekas (R) Pennsylvania)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 3312, but will work with the Senate to delete the provision in the manager's amendment which would revise the rates of basic pay for MSPB administrative judges.

The Administration supports the ADR provisions in H.R. 3312 and has found that in many circumstances, ADR can help resolve conflicts in a manner that is quicker, cheaper, and helps to preserve the relationships of the people involved in the disputes. For this reason, the Administration encourages the appropriate use of ADR to the maximum extent practicable. The bill would further this goal by establishing a three-year pilot program for MSPB to provide Federal employees and agencies with voluntary early intervention ADR in certain personnel disputes. MSPB would use a variety of ADR techniques and submit a report evaluating the effectiveness of the program. While the bill could be further strengthened by requiring MSPB to offer parties the choice of a private neutral in all cases and by calling for an independent evaluation of the program, the Administration believes this bill would establish a valuable program that implements the President's interest in promoting the use of ADR in government.

However, the Administration does not support the provision that would establish a new pay system for MSPB's administrative judges. This provision is unnecessary. While the Administration supports efforts to ensure the highest quality workforce, there is no evidence of recruitment and retention problems at MSPB that cannot be solved through existing authorities. The Administration will work with the Senate to delete this provision from the bill.